Volume 8, Number 14 - June 26, 2008
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‘Rock-y’ Relationship Leads Mayor To Dismiss P&Z Chair
Pinedale Town Council and the Planning and Zoning Board met Monday night after the regular council meeting to discuss issues arising within the town’s infrastructure and to determine how the two entities can better work together to improve the town and its future.
After deciding to get the most controversial topic out in the open from the start, the group’s conversation veered to the recent dismissal of P&Z Chairman Paul Rock by Mayor Steve Smith. Recent events, including the very public disagreement at the last council meeting between Rock and members of the council, indicated a serious dispute between the two parties and steadfast differences of opinions.
“It was a very difficult decision for me, but I felt it was necessary,” Smith said to the members present. “(Paul’s statements and actions) didn’t really leave me anywhere to go. I appreciate Paul’s service, and everyone else’s, especially on a volunteer board.”
Everyone on the P&Z board was given a moment to share their opinions about Rock and the series of events leading to his eventual dismissal.
“I think there has been a lot of bad feelings,” said P&Z member Barbara Boyce who had served with Rock the longest. “I think he had a lot of good ideas but he went about it the wrong way.”
“My mom always said you can get more flies with honey than with vinegar and I think he used vinegar,” she added.
P&Z member John Fogerty, who served with Rock for the shortest time, agreed, stating Rock received a majority of the public feedback and worked to make that information known.
“I am going to miss Paul’s enthusiasm,” Fogerty said. “But I can see the bickering was
not doing anyone any good.”
Fogerty added he does not see Rock at total fault for the levels of disagreement reached between the two boards. “I was brand new and I felt offended from the start,” Fogerty said.
P&Z member Pam Curry agreed.
“Paul did serve for... years, with no problems until recently,” she said.
Rock was not present at the meeting or the workshop and voiced his opinions later.
“Them ayor had to get rid of me because I insist on a high level of public scrutiny of the town’s business,” Rock said of his dismissal. “The town’s business is our business – I like sunshine and openness; I get the impression the mayor prefers secret meetings in dimly lit backrooms with the doors closed and the window shades drawn tightly shut.”
Rock said the major problem between himself and the mayor and council is that he attempted to involve the community and voice his opinions, not “rubberstamp the sometimes ill-conceived wishes of a mayor and town council.”
“If citizens are meek and mild, it’s too easy for politicians and bureaucrats to blow off their concerns with scripted and clichéd responses, ”Rock said. “Speaking to politicians and bureaucrats forcefully and truly holding their feet to the fire at public meetings knocks them off their scripts and often reveals insights, attitudes and information they would not ordinarily want to divulge.”
And Rock has no intention of easing the attitude and style with which he addresses the mayor and the council; he will just do it from a different seat.
“I plan to continue with my duties as an engaged citizen in a participatory democracy to serve and protect Pinedale, Wyoming,”R ock said.
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